13 actors who have played Elvis Presley, ranked

  • Elvis Presley has been portrayed countless times in movies and on TV.

  • Here, we highlighted the best and ranked them.

  • See where your favorite ranked.

13. Don Johnson, "Elvis and the Beauty Queen" (1981)

Don Johnson as Elvis Presley holding sun glasses
Don Johnson as Elvis Presley.NBC

Four years after Presley's death, Don Johnson played Presley in this made-for-TV movie. It chronicled Presley's love affair with a beauty-pageant contestant in the last years of his life.

Johnson dressed as Elvis is hilarious and it's wild that Johnson didn't even attempt to mimic Presley's voice. It's just Johnson's voice. That's what we got.

12. David Keith, "Heartbreak Hotel" (1988)

David Keith as Elvis Presley sitting on a motorcycle
David Keith as Elvis Presley.Buena Vista Pictures

A year after making his hit directorial debut "Adventures in Babysitting," Chris Columbus wrote and directed this silly comedy about a boy who kidnaps Presley.

Though David Keith looks nothing like the king, he at least attempted an Elvis Presley voice.

11. Jacob Elordi, "Priscilla" (2023)

Cailee Spaeny as Priscilla and Jacob Elordi as Elvis in "Priscilla."
Cailee Spaeny as Priscilla and Jacob Elordi as Elvis in "Priscilla."A24

A year after Austin Butler wowed audiences playing Presley in "Elvis," Jacob Elordi gave us his interpretation of the icon. He probably should have passed.

Though Sofia Coppola's latest is focused on Priscilla Presley, there's a lot of Elvis in it, and Elordi, though trying his best, falls flat.

Not only is his Elvis extremely unlikable, but it looks like the actor didn't put much preparation into playing the King, either. His portrayal is very one-note.

10. Harvey Keitel, "Finding Graceland" (1998)

Harvey Keitel dressed as Elvis Presley
Harvey Keitel (center) as Elvis Presley.Largo Entertaiment

With this late '90s drama, you get a dose of the road-trip genre and the magic of Presley.

Harvey Keitel plays a drifter who hitches a ride to Graceland, forming a bond with the man who picked him up in the process.

Keitel makes no attempt to give any Elvis flair to his performance, which is part of the charm of it.

9. Michael Shannon, "Elvis & Nixon" (2016)

elvis and nixon
(L-R) Michael Shannon as Elvis Presley and Kevin Spacey as Richard Nixon.Bleecker Street Media

The famous meeting between Presley and President Richard Nixon comes to life in this wacky movie.

Kevin Spacey plays the president and Michael Shannon is the rock-and-roll legend.

Thanks to some great make-up and costume work, Shannon pulls off the look of Presley, but when it comes to the voice, Shannon needed a little more work.

8. Bruce Campbell, "Bubba Ho-Tep" (2002)

Bruce Campbell as Elvis Presley laying on a bed
Bruce Campbell as Elvis Presley.Vitagraph Films

There have been a lot of ways people have plugged Presley into stories, but this is one of the most creative.

Bruce Campbell takes on the mystique of Elvis in this adaptation of the cult-favorite novella.

Here, Campbell plays an elderly man in a nursing home who claims to be Presley. Along with friend Jack (Ossie Davis), a Black man who thinks he's John F. Kennedy, the two take on an ancient mummy who is taking the souls of residents of the nursing home.

7. Jack White, "Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story" (2007)

Jake White dressed as Elvis Presley with his hand up
Jack White as Elvis Presley.Sony

We're pretty sure Jack White had more fun playing Presley than anyone on this list.

With a cameo appearance in this John C. Reilly comedy, White delivers an amazing portrayal as a pissed-off Presley who encounters Reilly's Dewey Cox backstage at a concert.

6. Tyler Hilton, "Walk The Line" (2005)

Tyler Hilton as Elvis Presley playing a guitar and singing into a microphone
Tyler Hilton as Elvis Presley.20th Century Fox

In the Oscar-winning biopic on Johnny Cash, Hilton's Presley has several encounters with Joaquin Phoenix's Cash.

Hilton has the look and voice to play young Presley, then a rocker who was just having fun playing music to screaming fans.

5. Val Kilmer, "True Romance" (1993)

Val Kilmer as Elvis Presley pointing at Christian Slater
(L-R) Christian Slater and Val Kilmer in "True Romance."Warner Bros.

Despite viewers never getting a good glimpse at Kilmer as Presley in this movie, Kilmer managed to captivate us anyways, earning him a high spot on this list.

His performance as Presley as a figment of Christian Slater's Clarence character's imagination is fascinating, even though he's hardly in the camera's frame.

4. Kurt Russell, "Elvis" (1979)

Kurt Russell dressed as Elvis Presley holding a guitar
Kurt Russell as Elvis Presley.ABC

Two years after Presley's death, John Carpenter (yes, the horror maestro who created the "Halloween" franchise) directed this made-for-TV biopic with Kurt Russell giving an impressive portrayal of the iconic musician.

It went on to earn three Emmy nominations, including a lead actor nomination for Russell.

3. Michael St. Gerard, "Elvis" (1990)

Michael St. Gerard as Elvis Presley in a recording studio
Michael St. Gerard as Elvis Presley.ABC

Though this TV series on the early years of Presley bombed (it was re-edited into a mini-series due to low ratings), the look and vocals of Gerard in the role is impressive.

Focusing on the Sun Records days, Gerard perfectly plays an Elvis who is just forming his craft.

And Gerard should know how to play Presley. Before the series, he had done it already in movies "Great Balls of Fire!" and "Heart of Dixie."

Then, after the series, he played Presley again in a 1993 episode of the hit TV show "Quantum Leap."

2. Jonathan Rhys Meyers, "Elvis" (2005)

Jonathan Rhys Meyers playing Elvis Presley holding a microphone
Jonathan Rhys Meyers as Elvis Presley.CBS

Up until recently, it was an Irish actor who gave us the best Presley performance.

Meyers, who mastered both the look and the dance moves, is explosive as the King of Rock and Roll in this CBS miniseries that looked at Presley's rise to superstardom.

The performance earned Meyers an Emmy nomination and a Golden Globes win.

1. Austin Butler, "Elvis" (2022)

Austin Butler as Elvis Presley
Austin Butler as Elvis Presley.Warner Bros.

In Baz Luhrmann's explosive and dazzling biopic, Austin Butler's take on Presley elevates the movie from another visually stunning Luhrmann project into a story of substance.

He has the dancing down, the singing, the swagger, but it's Butler's raw acting that's most impressive, as we follow Butler's Presley on his journey to superstardom and watch as he deals with the weight that comes with it.

Butler's skills are put on full display from the late 1960s section of the movie all the way into the gripping final scenes. His heated encounters with Tom Hanks as his twisted manager Colonel Tom Parker were especially phenomenal.


Correction: November 16, 2023 — An earlier version of this story incorrectly described Don Johnson's acting career. He appeared in "Miami Vice" after "Elvis and the Beauty Queen," not before.

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